Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurological disorder that shows a continuing pattern of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity which interferes with cognitive functioning and development. ADHD is not an illness or a sign of low intelligence, and with understanding, care and treatment, a child who has ADHD could lead a more fulfilling life.
There are three key characteristics of ADHD which include:
Inattention – Wandering off task, lack of persistence, difficulty sustaining focus, and disorganisation. These problems are not due to defiance or lack of comprehension.
Hyperactivity – Constant movement, including in inappropriate situations, or excessive fidgeting, tapping or talking. In adults, it may be extreme restlessness or constant activity.
Impulsivity – Careless and abrupt actions without first thinking or considering the long-term consequences, which may have the potential for harm; a wish for immediate reward, or the inability to delay gratification. An impulsive person may be socially intrusive and constantly interrupt others.
Even if a child displays symptoms such as those above, it doesn’t always mean that the child has ADHD. All young children have a limited attention span, have trouble sitting still and paying attention, and they sometimes do things without thinking.
For a child to be diagnosed with ADHD, the symptoms must be worse than the behaviour of other children of the same age. Also, the symptoms would be present in, and interfere with, at least two areas of the child’s life – for example, home, school, child care, etc. Diagnosing ADHD isn’t easy because ADHD can overlap with many other medical and behavioural conditions. Behaviours that appear to be ADHD could be caused by problems with health, emotions, sleep or school.
When health professionals, such as doctors and psychologists, are diagnosing a child with ADHD, they use guidelines to check the child’s symptoms. The developmental history of the child’s past behaviours and problems along with the child’s early attachment to a parent or caregiver may contribute to the behaviour, are also considered. Children would usually be between five years and twelve years of age to be diagnosed with ADHD. Diagnosis in children under the age of 5 is limited due to other reasons for the challenging behaviour.
There three types of ADHD that children can be diagnosed with:
ADHD Combined Type - If a child meets the criteria for both inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity for the past six months. Children with this type of ADHD tend to have trouble concentrating, are fidgety or restless and always on the go. They often act without thinking.
ADHD Inattentive Type or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) – If a child meets the criteria for inattention, but not the criteria for hyperactivity-impulsivity, for the past six months. Children with this type of ADHD tend to have trouble concentrating, remembering instructions, paying attention and finishing tasks.
ADHD Hyperactive/Impulsive Type – If a child meets the criteria for hyperactivity-impulsivity, but not the criteria for inattention, in the past six months. Children with this type of ADHD are always on the go, have trouble slowing down and often act without thinking.
ADHD symptoms can appear between the ages of 3 and 6 and can continue through adolescence and adulthood. Symptoms of ADHD can be mistaken for emotional or disciplinary problems, or the symptoms may be missed in quiet, well-behaved children, leading to a delay in diagnosis. Adults who have undiagnosed ADHD may have a history of poor academic performance, problems at work, or difficult or failed relationships.
ADHD symptoms can change over time as a person ages. In young children with ADHD, hyperactivity-impulsivity is the most prominent symptom. As a child reaches school age, the symptom of inattention may become more apparent and cause the child to struggle academically. In adolescence, hyperactivity seems to decrease and may show more often as feelings of restlessness or fidgeting, but inattention and impulsivity may remain.
Many adolescents with ADHD also struggle with relationships and antisocial behaviours.
It is believed that ADHD cannot develop in adults without first appearing during childhood, and it is known that symptoms of ADHD often persist from childhood into teenage years, and then into adulthood. Any additional issues experienced by children with ADHD, such as depression or dyslexia, may also continue into adulthood.
Related Conditions in Children and Teenagers
Although not always the case, some children may also have other conditions coexisting ADHD, such as:
- Anxiety Disorder: Causes the child to be nervous and worry; it may also cause physical symptoms, such as a rapid heartbeat, sweating and dizziness.
- Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD): Negative and disruptive behaviour, particularly towards authority figures, such as parents and teachers.
- Conduct Disorder: Antisocial behaviour, such as fighting, stealing, vandalism and harming people or animals.
- Depression: Low mood and irritability.
- Sleep Problems: Difficulty getting to sleep at night, and irregular sleeping patterns.
- Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): Affects social interaction, communication, interests and behaviour.
- Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD): Sensitivities to touch, lights, sounds, taste, smell, movement (vestibular) and body awareness (proprioception).
- Epilepsy: A condition affecting the brain and causing repeated fits or seizures.
- Tourette’s Syndrome: A condition of the nervous system, characterised by involuntary noises and movements called tics.
- Learning Difficulties: Such as Dyslexia (troubles with reading, writing).
Caring for a Child with ADHD
Parents, carers and teachers could consider the following ways to help their child learn and develop.
- Establish consistent routines at home and school. Give advanced notice if there will be changes in routines.
- Keep rules clear and simple, and provide reminders calmly.
- Make sure you have the child’s full attention when you communicate with them.
- Give your child only one or two instructions at a time.
- Ask your child to repeat the instruction to be sure that they have understood.
- Praise your child when they behave appropriately and acknowledge their achievements.
- With unacceptable behaviour, it may be helpful to use ‘time out’ (between the ages of 18 months and six years), or logical consequences (for older children).
Diagnoses for Adults
In adults, the symptoms of ADHD are harder to define, and there is a lack of research into adults with ADHD.
The symptoms in children and teenagers are sometimes also applied to adults with possible ADHD. But some specialists say that how inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness affect adults can be very different from the ways they affect children. For example, hyperactivity tends to decrease in adults, while inattentiveness may worsen as the pressure of adult life increases. Adult symptoms of ADHD are often far more subtle than childhood symptoms.
By the age of 25, it is estimated that 15% of people diagnosed with ADHD as children still have a full range of symptoms, and 65% have some symptoms that affect their daily lives.
Related Conditions in Adults
As with children and teenagers, ADHD in adults can coexist with several similar conditions, namely:
- Depression: One of the most common conditions that affect
- Personality Disorders: Individuals thoughts and feelings relating to others differs significantly from an average person.
- Bipolar Disorder: Moods can swing from manic to depression.
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviour.
The behavioural problems associated with ADHD can cause difficulties with relationships and social interaction, or contribute to higher risk of engaging in drugs and crime.
Useful Coping Tools for Adults
A professional counsellor or therapist can assist an adult with ADHD to learn how to organise his or her life using tools such as:
- Keeping routines
- Making lists for different tasks and activities
- Using a calendar to schedule events
- Using reminder notes
- Designating a special place for keys, bills, and paperwork
- Breaking down large tasks into more manageable, smaller steps
Treatment and Therapies
While there is no cure for ADHD, currently available treatments can help reduce symptoms and improve functioning. Treatments may include medication, psychotherapy, education or training, or a combination of treatments. Cognitive behavioural therapy can also teach a person mindfulness techniques or meditation.
How JettProof Can Help with ADHD
JettProof calming sensory clothing has been helpful for many children with ADHD. JettProof has been developed to be worn discreetly under regular clothing (not visible to their peers), to assist children (and adults) with autism, sensory processing disorder, ADHD and anxiety.
JettProof provides the perfect dose of sensory input to help calm, soothe and support self-regulation. JettProof aids in filtering sensory information to improve the ability to listen, learn and focus.
JettProof clothing has no tags or internal seams so that children and adults with tactile sensitivities are comfortable. Correct sizing is important as JettProof needs to provide the correct amount of sensory compression to the muscles to work efficiently.
The JettProof singlets and shirts provide a gentle ‘hug’ around the chest, shoulders and torso. This has a calming effect and also provides proprioceptive input which organises and regulates the nervous system and assists with body awareness.
JettProof shorts and leggings provide sensory compression, so a child can sit and listen much more easily. They are particularly helpful for children with ADHD, those who have difficulty concentrating, who ‘wriggle’, who feel the need to fall to the ground or who need sensory input in the lower body.
JettProof clothing is made from our special fabric (Calmtex) which has just the right amount of sensory compression, is breathable and also wicks away the sweat so that it can be worn all day, every day, in all climates. They have special external stitching for a seamless feel and stamped labelling for children and adults with tactile sensitivity.
Sensory compression is calming and gives proprioceptive feedback - proprioception is known as the 6th sense - knowing where your body is in space (body awareness) and the ability to safely manoeuvre around your environment and to stimulate the joint receptors.
Many children and adults wear JettProof clothing daily. We regularly receive positive feedback – some of the many testimonials are below.
Many children wear a JettProof compression singlet under their pyjamas at night. Children may wake, or search for sensory input continually while they sleep restlessly – JettProof can help them settle and stay asleep throughout the night, providing the sensory input they seek, sometimes avoiding the need for medication (such as melatonin).
Although many children develop ‘coping strategies’ as they mature, some or all of the issues continue into adulthood (so we also make JettProof for adults).
JettProof sensory compression clothing is helpful in many of these cases, and for many families, it is life changing.
Some JettProof Testimonials
AMAZING! Like a few others have said, the first couple of hours my son (8 years old, ADHD) wasn’t 100% sure of his singlet. He complained & complained, but he kept it on & fell asleep & literally only takes it off for a bath now. The second afternoon I was going to put a normal singlet on him after his bath just to give him a break & ease him into wearing them, I guess, & no he refused & said he had to have the cosy (JettProof) on. Bridget B
I tried a singlet for eight days on my boy who is ASD, ADHD and he’s 4. Was the best day ever I had with him! Thank you so much for these products. I’ve since brought a load more, even to try on my eldest son who is ADHD and ASD. I’ve told everyone I know with special needs kids. Feel like I’ve won the lotto!
Miss 9 has ADHD and SPD and received her first JettProof singlets and pants four days ago. Not only have they allowed her a little more self-regulation but she loves them so much I've had to drag them off her to wash them! LOL, She is literally wearing them 24 hours round the clock!